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Contract management and dispute resolution within the rail industry

Contract management and dispute resolution within the rail industry:

Years of experience in contract management and dispute resolution has taught us that rail industry projects require a carefully tailored approach.

While there are many firms offering out-of-the-box management for rail and transportation contracts, along with dispute resolution services, at Kenzie Group we know that the industry has distinct requirements when it comes to ensuring that contractual obligations are met.

In the last two years, we have grown our contract management expertise for rail industry projects by working to resolve a number of high profile, multi-million-pound disputes. These included a dispute on a major new-build UK rail project, and a dispute involving specialist contractor installation works at a major underground station.

We also managed a contract for major refurbishments and upgrade work to underground stations, and our experience taught us that that transparency, honesty, and trust are the top priorities of rail companies, large and small.

Our team is comprised of construction people – not academics – so we understand the damage that consultants can cause when they bring poor communication skills or a lack of knowledge and experience to a project. We know the importance of listening closely to a client’s specific needs, and ensuring that any consultant we assign to a job has an appropriate skillset along with a wealth of experience tailored to the needs of the job.

We are not specialists in a single sector with limited, narrow experience. Our work has given us experience and expertise in a broad range of sectors and we have honed our practice in various countries and legal jurisdictions around the world. This informs our approach to every project we take on and gives us a more rounded and balanced view.

Construction projects in the rail industry are frequently subject to delays, and this can lead to disputes if not carefully managed. Disputes in transportation projects require diligence and careful attention to the right details. At Kenzie, we have experience of successful dispute resolution when working on behalf of contractors and clients on both sides of rail industry disputes, and we know why claims succeed and why they fail.

The success of any construction claim will depend on the keeping of contemporaneous records. The effect of delays or variations to a contract can only be proven if record keeping has been accurate and comprehensive throughout the delivery of the work. We work with firms of all sizes to ensure contemporaneous records are properly kept.

When disputes become protracted, claims consultants are sometimes accused of getting ‘lost in the trees’, or of suffering from ‘analysis paralysis’. This can occur when a contract management firm pays too much attention to superfluous details, and fails to focus in on the issues that will take the case forward.

When we begin work on a transportation contract, we prioritise our relationship with the client from day one. We won’t send our most impressive representative to the first meeting, only for that person to never be seen again as the project progresses. On the contrary, our company structure and internal procedures are set to ensure that our clients’ expectations are understood, managed and successfully met.

Because rail industry contracts can be sizeable and time-consuming to manage, we ensure everyone in our company understands each project we take on. In short, we are big enough to do the work, but small enough to provide the care and attention required to ensure rail industry projects remain dispute-free. Where disputes and claims do arise, we have the experience and know-how to manage claims effectively and ensure the cost to your business is kept to a minimum.

This article, written by Kenzie Group MD Joseph Bond, was featured in Rail Technology Magazine last year.

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